KUSA — 9NEWS viewer Heather wrote us Wednesday morning, curious about residency requirements for candidates running for the board of trustees in her town of Superior.
Heather wrote: “One of the rules (per Town communication) stipulates that candidates must reside within the town limits for at least the 12 months prior to the election date. One of the candidates just graduated from college…this year, but lists his permanent address (his parents' home) as being in Superior. I questioned our town clerk, who communicated to me that residency is determined by ‘intent’ and because he listed his permanent address as Superior, that showed intent.”
Heather asked if this was typical, so 9NEWS decided to find out.
The Colorado Secretary of State website addresses voter registration eligibility, and it explicitly says students do not lose residency for voting purposes:
REGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY AND RESIDENCY A person’s residence is the primary home where the person lives and intends to remain indefinitely, and whenever absent, has the present intention of returning. An elector with no fixed permanent home may use any address that they regularly return to and have the intent to remain... Students and military or overseas electors do not gain or lose residency because of an absence from the state. A military or overseas elector may register with his or her last known address in Colorado, even if the person no longer owns or lives in the residence.
But do the residency rules for voter eligibility also apply to candidates running for office?
9NEWS checked with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and received this reply: “Yes, a candidate may retain his or her residence within a district (both for registration and candidacy purposes) while being temporarily absent from the district as a student.”
So who is the candidate in question? He’s Dalton Valette, 22, who graduated from Drew University in New Jersey earlier this year. He moved back into his parents’ home over the summer. He describes himself as a political nerd who dressed up as George Washington in first grade. By third grade, Valette said he could recite the names of all the presidents, forward and backward.
“Superior is my home,” Valette told 9NEWS. “I’ve encountered criticism about my residency, but I don’t feel there is any other place beside Superior that I can call home.”
For her part, Heather has no “specific concerns about this candidate.” She said her concern was about the integrity of future elections and “setting a dangerous precedent.”
Maybe Heather can rest easy now.